Herman Kathan / Percussionist
As a musician, composer and teacher, Herman Kathan focuses on
percussive traditions from West Africa, South and Central America and
Asia. In the more than 30 years of his musical career, his own personal
style and approach to percussive music has developed based on these traditions.
For him music means experiencing inner and outer structures, on the part
of the audience as well as the musician him- or herself.
Kathan has engaged in intense study of West African Mandinke music
as well as Brazilian cult and popular music. Apart from a large
number of percussion instruments, his main instruments are the djembé,
the berimbao, atabaques and bass drums.In addition to detailed musical
knowledge, Herman Kathan can impart insights into the mental and philosophical
structures of this music.
His well-founded knowledge of the music of the Mandinke peoples and
its structures was aquired by Kathan during various visits to many West
African countries. He owes his rich knowledge of musical traditions to
his own studies as well as to outstanding djembé performers such
as Mamady Keita, Famoudou Konaté and Soungalo Coulibaly. He has
performed concerts and gone on tour with all three.
He owes his repertoire of Brazilian music primarily to Dudu Tucci. His
focus has been on the cultic tradition, the Candomblé. This music
continues to possess strong African roots.
The berimbao, a rhythm instrument with only one string, is one
of his favorites. It is reported to be one of the oldest kinds of instruments
in the world. Thus the musical influences are quite diverse.
As a musician he has founded and directs various ensembles. With
his celebrated band "Busch-Werk" he goes on tour regularly
with some of the most acclaimed and respected percussionists from Africa
and Europe, the most eminent ones being Nippy Noya, Famoudou Konaté and Soungalo